BMW sold 142,617 electrified vehicles to customers around the world last year. This figure includes MINI vehicles as well as BMWs, and of course plug-in hybrids as well as fully electric vehicles. Over 50% of the sales occurred in Europe. Wieland Brúch, an expert on BMW Group Electromobility, answered some questions about the sales for CleanTechnica.
You delivered 142,617 electrified BMW and MINI vehicles to customers around the world in 2018, how many were all-electric and how many were hybrids?
Approximately a quarter were fully electric with three-quarters being plug-in hybrid.
How many more did you deliver in 2018 than the year before?
In 2017, we delivered 103,080 electrified vehicles worldwide.
What is your target for 2019?
By the end of 2019, there will be at least half a million BMW Group electrified vehicles on the roads, cumulatively from the introduction of the BMW i3 in November 2013.
Can you share any details about how you forecast vehicle demand and sales vs. production?
The take-up of electromobility varies greatly from market to market and is dependent on a variety of factors including infrastructure, regulation and incentives. For this reason, it is extremely difficult to predict medium- to long-term what the percentage of electrified cars in any given market will be. In order to be able to react appropriately to any future situation, the BMW Group is following a course of flexible vehicle architecture – here is what our CEO had to say about this at our Annual Accounts Press Conference in March 2017:
“We are refining our vehicle architectures. They are already designed so that we can build cars with a combustion engine and plug-in hybrids on the same architecture for every model series. That is a result of our project i. From 2020, project i 2.0 will enable us to introduce a pure battery-electric model for our model series. To achieve this, we are now gearing our architectures towards combustion engines and pure battery-electric drivetrains. We are not only able to assemble and paint cars with both drivetrains on the same line; we also only need one car body construction to produce models with a combustion engine or electric drivetrain. The benefits of this are obvious: Maximum flexibility for planning and production, regardless of how e-mobility develops in a segment or market.”
BMW is one of the most well-known automobile brands around the world. Does producing all-electrics and hybrids enhance it?
The core of the BMW brand is “joy.” If you’ve ever driven a BMW i3, you’ll know how the thrilling acceleration you get in that car really embodies that! BMW is a leader in innovation and technology – again, the i3 is a good example of this. With electrification becoming increasingly important, our early experience and investment in this area is paying dividends – with the BMW iX3 we will be launching our fifth generation electric drivetrain.
This pioneering attitude to new technologies is another crucial factor when looking at the brand’s identity, as is our commitment to sustainability, which has been part of our company’s ethos ever since BMW was the first car company to appoint a sustainability officer back in 1973. Now we don’t only produce electrified vehicles, we also support customers on every stage of the electrified journey. For example, ChargeNow offers access to the world’s largest network of public charging points. You can find out about more “360° Electric” topics here.
How interested or excited is BMW about making all-electric vehicles going forward to compete with the new EVs that are coming out right now and that will be coming out over the next five years?
By 2025, the BMW Group will have at least 25 electrified vehicles in our line-up, at least 12 of which will be fully electric. That is pretty exciting!
Does BMW manufacture its own EV batteries currently?
The BMW Group currently obtains battery cells from leading cell manufacturers in Asia. However, all other value creation takes place at the BMW Group: packaging, development of power electronics, control, cooling, etc. These are defined as core internal tasks. The BMW Group produces batteries at its own plants in Germany, the US and China. A high-quality, stable production process is crucial to ensure optimal crash safety, lifecycle (reliability) and performance of high-voltage batteries.
What is your perception of Tesla’s role in pushing EVs into the automotive spotlight?
We welcome every company that helps promote the topic of electric mobility. Tesla has, above all, made a valuable contribution in making electric vehicles emotionally desirable — that is what Tesla and BMW Group electrified products have in common: they appeal to people’s senses and emotions, as well as their rational thinking.